Statement from the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
I’m very pleased and honoured that the Prime Minister has asked me to continue my work in the portfolio of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
During the Federal Labor Government’s first term, I pursued an ambitious agenda, including driving the biggest pension reforms in 100 years, establishing Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme, rolling out new welfare reforms, introducing Australia’s first national child protection framework and addressing chronic under-investment in Indigenous Affairs. The Government also committed record funding to social housing and tackling homelessness.
In the Government’s second term, I look forward to continuing to modernise Australia’s family payments system, including delivering on our election commitment to provide more support to parents of older teenagers who stay at school or are in training.
I will also deliver on our election commitment to provide children with developmental disabilities and their carers with access to intensive early intervention services.
The Government looks forward to receiving the Productivity Commission Inquiry into a National Disability Care and Support scheme in July 2011. The Inquiry is examining a range of options, including whether a no-fault social insurance approach to disability is appropriate in Australia.
An important focus of our second term will be working with states, territories, industry and a new parliamentary committee which includes Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon on an ambitious reform agenda to tackle problem gambling, including introducing pre-commitment technology on all pokies by 2014.
In Indigenous Affairs, the Government has allocated record funding to close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians, including $5.75 billion over the next three years.
I look forward to continuing to drive long term change in Indigenous communities, including continuing to implement and deliver on our commitments.
Our election commitment to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution will be a key priority. We will work across the Parliament and the community to build support.
An important focus of our second term will also be improving education outcomes for Indigenous Australians and the Indigenous Economic Development Strategy, which will support Indigenous people to participate in the broader economy through employment, home ownership and business.
I’m very pleased the Prime Minister has appointed Senator Mark Arbib as the Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, and the Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness.
I’m also pleased to be assisted in my work by two Parliamentary Secretaries Senator Jan McLucas and Julie Collins.
I would like to thank my colleagues Tanya Plibersek, Bill Shorten and Senator Ursula Stephens for their dedication and hard work in the portfolio over the last three years.